January 31, 2010

Mr. Asato's reading recs and other thoughts

Our history teacher Mr. Asato is living in Peru for a year, "teaching Economics online, exploring pre-Columbian archaeological sites, and learning a little Spanish. That, and trying my best not to disrupt U.S.-Peruvian diplomatic relations. :D " AND, he adds, he's reading as much as he can.

Mr. Asato keeps me and his other Facebook friends abreast of his reading recommendations on WeRead. Pictured is the latest book he recommended just today: Spice the History of a Temptation by Jack Turner. Mr. Asato's review is short and sweet -- "If you enjoy food, quality research, and history, you'll enjoy this book."

He notes: "The list of books that I have on WeRead are ones that I've read this past year, but there are others that I love--like Jared Diamond's Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel. I also think Flow by Csíkszentmihályi is one of my all-time favorites about optimal performance (his follow up to Flow is also worth reading. In conjunction with Emotional Intelligence, these reads help one think about how to achieve one's best, whether in work or play (think gambaru! Something an elderly village lady--and my former student in Japan--taught me through her life). A People's History is also worth reading (RIP Zinn!)."

Mr. Asato apologizes needlessly: "Sorry that most of my reads are non-fiction. I think it's a bad habit, but I'm picky about fiction. I'll say, however, that My Antonia has touched me deeply. Reading Willa Cather's prose is like diving into a gorgeously rich pool of color, light and shadows; where a smile, an eye askance, or nod conveys as many possibilities for reflection as the breadth of Cather's Nebraskan plains offers the dreamy peripatetic a place to roam."

On an added personal note, Mr. Asato muses:

"You know, I think I blindly hit one of the historical/archaeological 'jackpots' living in Peru. I've read that there are over 100,000 huacas (pyramidal sacred structures) throughout Peru. One can see them everywhere in Northern Peru! Moreover, I've learned things that aren't even in the textbooks that will necessarily change how we view the development of human civilizations."

Thanks, Mr. Asato, for taking the time to share with the Seabury reading community your thoughts on reading and Peru!